Spring Branch Coalition
"Building a Better Community"

Updated: January 14, 2000 - © 2000, All rights reserved

Spring Branch Super Neighborhoods


Extracts from Mayor's"Guidelines to Superneighborhoods"
What Is It
"The cornerstone of Mayor Lee P. Brown's neighborhood oriented government is problem solving on a manageable scale, which led to the creation of superneighborhoods."
Why Needed
"In the past, residents of individual communities have focused their attention on issues that only affected their narrowly defined neighborhood, often a subdivision, without considering the conditions in the broader area surrounding their community. Super neighborhoods were created to encourage residents of neighboring communities to work together to identify, prioritize and address the needs and concerns of the broader community. This creates a manageable framework for community action and allows the city to provide services more efficiently."
"Residents and stakeholders (i.e., businesses, faith institutions, schools, etc.) of each super neighborhood will join ranks and form a super neighborhood council. The council will serve as a forum where residents and stakeholders can discuss issues impacting their super neighborhood, develop community improvement actions plans and , ultimately, reach a consensus on high priority projects to improve the overall community."
Why Wanted
"Super neighborhood councils create a new and innovative avenue for city government to become more responsive to concerns of Houston residents.:
"...a city employee who will work with the newly formed super neighborhood council....will help the council forma strong linkd between the neighborhood residents and city government..."
How to form
"To be effective, the super neighborhood council must be representative of the largest possible number of residents and major stakeholders that comprise the entire super neighborhood. Furthermore, the council must provide a public forum for all to participate." "Mayor Brown will recommetnd to City Council recognition of super neighborhood councils after the following:" (See following steps.)
Step 1 to form
"1. Identify and elicit participation from stakeholders."

Representation from all groups is encouraged, including: "civic clubs, neighborhood block associations, non-profits, tenant associations, community development corporations. Other neighborhood entities such as businesses, schools, churches and hospitals should be represented through their umbrella organizations and coalitions rather than as single entities."

Step 2 to form
"2. Agree on organizational framework for the council."

"The council may choose simply to adopt 'Articles of Association' with the approval of all participating entities. As others join, they too would agree to the Articles of Association. In a more structured approach stakeholders may agree to form a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation or similar entity."

Step 3 to form
"3. Formulate and adopt by-laws."

"After agreeing on an organizational framework, stakeholders will formulate and adopt by-laws. By-laws address fundamental issues on conducting business and making decisions By-laws should address the following issues:

The right of any stakeholder within the super neighborhood to be represented, either through new or existing organizations.

The manner in which council seats and subsequent voting authority is assigned. One scenario might be tha each stakeholder organization holds a seat on the council.

The manner in which super neighborhood council meetings will be conducted.

The method by which residents will participate in council activities and be informed of decisions.

The method for assuring that all council activity is conducted in open meetings where all residents may observe discussion and participate under defined circumstances.

A declaration assuring that participation is not limited by the imposition of membership requirements or fees either by the council or participating organizations.

A prohibition against exclusion of any individual or organization base on race, creed color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin from participation in super neighborhood council activities or serving as a council member."

Step 4 to form
"4. Develop a Super Neighborhood Action Program."

"Super neighborhoods and their councils create a broad-based neighborhood forum where residents and stakeholders met to discuss issues affecting their community and develop action plans to address them. The ultimate goal is to create a Super Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP).

A SNAP is submitted to City Council for endorsement. Actions identified in the SNAP can be implemented through established city procedures such as tthe Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the Consolidated Plan, etc. The Planning and Development Department can assist in preparation of the SNAP. "